AUBURN, Ala. - - The Ball State softball team suffered a pair of losses Saturday at the War Eagle Classic, falling to tournament host No. 23 Auburn (15-3/5 inn.) and in-state rival IPFW (2-0) at Jane B. Moore Field.
The Cardinals (14-9) are scheduled to close play in the three-day tournament Sunday at Noon ET / 11 am CT versus Savannah State weather permitting. Check BallStateSports.com tomorrow for updates on the schedule.
In the loss to 23rd-ranked Auburn, Ball State senior left fielder Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas/McKinney) blasted her 65th career home run to tie Jen Yee as the NCAA Division I all-time career home run leader among Canadian-born players. Yee, who is Gilbert’s teammate on the Canadian Women’s Senior National Softball Team, racked up 65 career home runs while playing for Niagara (2006-07) and Georgia Tech (2009-10).
In the nightcap, sophomore pitcher Kelsey Schifferdecker (Belton, Mo./Belton) turned in one of her best performances of the season, holding the Mastodons hitless over the five-and-two-thirds innings. Unfortunately, IPFW was able to score a pair of two-out runs in the sixth to pull out the 2-0 win.
Sophomore center fielder Briana Evans (Tulsa, Okla./Union) led the Ball State offense, going 4-for-5 on the day with three infield singles.
GAME ONE RECAP: No. 23 Auburn 15 – Ball State 3 (5 innings)
After starting their own War Eagle Classic with three no-hitters, Auburn (24-4-1) saw Ball State’s two-hole batter, sophomore second baseman Emily Dabkowski (Plainfield, Ind./South Putnam), record an infield single in the top of the first to snap the streak. Unfortunately, the Cardinals could not capitalize, leaving her stranded at first.
The Tigers would respond by loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the frame, setting up a RBI walk to B. Melero. However, the Ball State defense would step up and record three straight outs to limit the damage to one run.
With one out in the second, senior designated player Lauren Schroeder (Greenfield, Ind./New Palestine) recorded Ball State’s second hit of the game, blasting a home run over the right-center field wall to even the score at 1-1. It marked the first run given up by the Tigers in the tournament.
Unfortunately, the score was not tied for long, as Auburn score 14 runs over the next three innings to pull ahead 15-1. The Tigers scored four in the second, six in the third and four more in the fourth.
Ball State scored its final two runs of the game in the top of the fifth, courtesy of Gilbert’s two-run blast. Evans led off the inning with a single, and advanced to third on a pair of groundouts. Gilbert followed the two outs with a titanic blast into the trees in right field for her 65th career home run.
GAME TWO RECAP: IPFW 2 – Ball State 0
The nightcap was a pitcher’s duel through the first five innings, with neither team being able to generate any offense.
Ball State threatened to score in the bottom of the fourth, putting runners at first and second with two outs, but could not capitalize as a strikeout ended the inning.
Unfortunately, it was IPFW who would get their bats going in the sixth inning, scoring a pair of two-out runs with the first coming on a RBI single from Larissa Franklin, who is also a teammate of Gilbert’s on the Canadian Women’s Senior National Softball Team.
Senior third baseman Audrey Bickel (Munster, Ind./Andrean) would record a two-out single in the sixth, but again the Cardinals failed to keep a rally going. Bickel would also make a nice diving grab with one out and bases loaded in the top of the seventh, sparking an inning-ending double